Film / TVMusicOpinion

Jeen-Yuhs: Part 3 (Mayonnaise colored Benz I push Miracle Whips)

March 7, 2022
I spent a total of 8 hours in the Hartsfield ATL airport awaiting my flight back to Boston. This, after a long weekend of catching up with some family in Atlanta, celebrating my grandmother’s 80th birthday and learning how to smoke cigars properly with my uncle. Usually I make time for Magic City, or Cheetahs, Blue Flame or Onyx but this time around the schedule was super tight. I did get a chance to pop into Wish, pick up some Diet Starts Monday and some Human Made (the Adidas and Pharrell collaboration). I also had a chance to kick it with my younger sister, who’s 19 years my junior and had full control of the Bluetooth on our way to the High Art Museum of Atlanta. Music taste must be genetic because this girl didn’t miss a beat. She ran the gamut and unapologetically had Kanye in the mix. Proud sister moment.
The final episode of the trilogy came out on the day that I was at the airport but I didn’t dive in until the next day. I broke this viewing down into many snackable sessions throughout the day, with the largest chunk at night. Admittedly, I tried to watch after a few rounds at Shore Leave with some friends, but I found myself less connected to this episode than the other two as it started to focus on present day Kanye. This distracted version of myself was a combination of a long workday, recovering from the first half of the episode, and being bummed that the documentary was over. I knew that I’d have to rewatch it to provide the proper takeaways, so I’m coming live and direct at 8:41AM, rewatching as Kanye repeatedly calls Coodie Chike at his after party hammered, wearing a lavender suit and gold Rolex, while Coodie becomes more and more frustrated.

There are so many parts to Kanye that you haven’t seen

Before Donda passes away, we see the grounding nature of her relationship with Kanye, keeping him from flying off of the rails. As Kanye begins to become the “giant who sees nothing in the mirror” we are introduced to multiple iterations of the genius; as he raps “Hey Mama” for the first time ever on the Oprah show, and continues to rap the lyrical love note alongside his mother in her kitchen while she dances, smiles and beams with pride. We also see Kanye admit the importance of his mother being on his team, as she grows through the ranks from being a mother, to being his business manager. I’ve always defended Kanye’s erratic behavior by imagining that the loss of your tether to this earth. It must be one that creates an entirely new version of yourself. In episode 3, the first 20 minutes is a walk down memory lane with Donda and Kanye, and it sets you up for the ultimate tragedy. Knowing that the outcome of the love poured into Kanye by Donda will end as it does is truly heartbreaking. The empathy spikes at an all time high and all you can do is try to understand what it must be like to be so close to reaching the peak of the mountain that you’ve been climbing for years, just to have your rope completely severed.
I was surprised that there wasn’t any footage of the relationship between Kanye and Virgil. Knowing that Virgil Abloh, Kanye West and Don C. were building empires together, from Chicago to all over the world. Seeing Kanye rock the Pyrex plaid as a surprise guest at the Common festival made me hopeful that we’d see what their relationship was like. We saw Don C. pop up a few times in the documentary, but never a mention of Abloh.
We start to see the unraveling of Kanye West, as we know it, a week after his mother passes away, as he continues to tour and immerse himself in his work. The bystander in all of us watches from afar as Kanye’s smile becomes less vibrant, his sunglasses become a staple accessory, and his ego begins to balloon. Regardless of the grief stage that he’s in, we see the relentless focus on his business unfold, as he begins to remove his fear from loss, and stops giving a fuck about what anyone else thinks about him.

You’re gonna love me, you’re gonna hate me, but I’m going to be me

I still don’t understand how he does it. Not only did Kanye transform the music industry, but he managed to create a global brand that admittedly I am obsessed with. When we look at the consistency of what Kanye has released as an architect of culture, you have to wonder HOW. As the Yeezy brand climbs to an estimated $3-4B in value, we cannot deny that Kanye West is indeed a business mastermind.
Yeezy has indeed jumped over Jumpman.
The elephant in the room is multi-dimensional. Let’s start with the Trump-Kanye era. Kanye West continuously went against the expected reaction of a black man being against Donald Trump in all ways, meeting with him multiple times, seemingly cheering him on and of course wearing that fucking MAGA hat. For the love of GOD, if there’s one thing that I would remove from the history of Kanye West, it would be that MAGA hat. This might cause some heartburn for the readers, but as a Kanye fan, I can understand why he decided to go against the grain. Quite honestly, this is not much of a surprise for someone who is constantly admitted to being himself regardless of what everyone else thinks of him. It’s also clear that about 50% of the country (actually 50%+) agreed with Kanye’s support of Trump. For the record, he has never admitted to voting for Trump, and from what I understand, he’s only voted for himself as President of the United States.
What I took away from the MAGA hat saga, is the importance of symbolism when it comes to brand building.
That hat symbolizes pride for some and hatred for others, depending on their beliefs and experiences. Kanye West was willing to put himself in the lion’s den, knowing that in wearing that hat with his influence he would yet again be at the center of controversy. Oftentimes when asked about the MAGA hat, Kanye smugly replies that he doesn’t have to subscribe to the expectations that others have set forth on him. On that point, I agree. In my opinion, Donald Trump being voted into office was one of the worst things to have happened to this country. It held a mirror up to the things that we’ve been trying to avoid for so long. The primary issue being the assumption that we as a country have made more progress than we actually have. The perception of our progress when it comes to racism, division and white supremacy was clearly inaccurate based on the election results of 2016. The only positive thing to come out of Donald Trump’s election, is breaking it down and realizing that qualifications are relative. If you have enough people to support your vision and enough money to push your agenda forward you can indeed do whatever you want.

I’m not satisfied with anything less than the best because time is fleeting

One of my favorite things about episode three is the energy exchange between Kid Cudi and Ye. Knowing that Ye continues to mold the future by signing artists like Cudi, Pusha, Travis and Big Sean gives us a glimpse into his legacy. During the Life of Pablo Tour – definitely Top 3 Kanye albums – we see the smile that we’ve missed from Ye, as he’s surrounded by a dancing, jumping, hype Kid Cudi rocking a raccoon style old school hat that’s probably made of chinchilla. The body of work that Ye has given us all is unprecedented and again solely opinion based, is the BEST. From College Dropout to Donda, Ye has given us a catalog that references the ups, the downs and the all arounds. The quotables, the drums, and the style have been unmatched. I catch a lot of flack for saying that Kanye West is the best artist of our time, but I stand by it. We have never (I have never) experienced an artist like Ye. One who humanizes not only the art of innovation but continues to bring others along on his journey with him.
In the final episode, we see the Ye who owns a 4,000 acre ranch in Cody, introducing Sunday Service and Jesus is King. For some, both of these projects seemed like they were coming out of left field for Ye, but if you think back to even the first episode, religion and his Christianity has always been at the center of his work. Having been admitted to the hospital for what Ye calls a “mental breakthrough” and often referring to that time being when he was “dead” and has since been “reborn,” is relatable on so many levels. With the past two years of the pandemic killing everything that we once knew to be normal, to being forced to adapt to this new version of existence, if we take a step back and look at Kanye West as a human instead of an artist, we can begin to empathize with the journey that has currently lead Kanye to continuously being the topic of conversation.
One of the familiarities between the themes of each episode and the themes of my life have been the clear understanding that time is fleeting. When we seriously take a second and think about what we’re doing with the time that we have here, who we’re spending it with, and how we’re planning to make it better for the future, we still have a lot of work to do. While we may not all have a body of work that spans 10-12 albums, a $3-4B fashion line, a Maybach, Porsches and a vision to build a fully sustainable city with our own money, we do have one thing in common. Our time here is limited and as you’re reading this, the time that you’ve spent digesting my opinions on this documentary is appreciated.

In Summation:

I’m going to continue to add to my GAP position (ticker GPS) for at least the next 5 years, because I think that it’s an incredible opportunity to participate in the rise of a brand that will be a landing pad for some of Kanye’s wildest collaborative dreams. I haven’t seen a documentary of this quality EVER. The amount of raw footage, the narration from Coodie, the 20 year runway, the soundbites from Donda, and the historical context of what it took for Kanye West to transform to Ye is absolutely mind-blowing.
Blasting Gorgeous on the Sonos,
Ain’t no question, if I want it, I need it
I can feel it slowly drifting away from me
I’m on the edge, so why you playin’? I’m sayin’
I will never ever let you live this down, down, down
Not for nothin’ I’ve foreseen it, I dream it
I can feel it slowly driftin’ away from me
No more chances, if you blow this, you bogus
I will never ever let you live this down, down, down
Penitentiary chances, the devil dances
And eventually answers to the call of Autumn
All of them fallin’ for the love of ballin’
Got caught with 30 rocks, the cop look like Alec Baldwin
Inter-century anthems based off inner-city tantrums
Based off the way we was branded
Face it, Jerome get more time than Brandon
And at the airport they check all through my bag
And tell me that it’s random
But we stay winnin’, this week has been a bad massage
I need a happy endin’ and a new beginnin’
And a new fitted, and some job opportunities that’s lucrative
This the real world, homie, school finished
They done stole your dreams, you dunno who did it
I treat the cash the way the government treats AIDS
I won’t be satisfied ’til all my niggas get it, get it?
Ain’t no question, if I want it, I need it
I can feel it slowly driftin’ away from me
I’m on the edge, so why you playin’? I’m sayin’
I will never ever let you live this down, down, down
Is hip hop just a euphemism for a new religion?
The soul music of the slaves that the youth is missin’
But this is more than just my road to redemption
Malcolm West had the whole nation standin’ at attention
As long as I’m in Polo smilin’, they think they got me
But they would try to crack me if they ever see a black me
I thought I chose a field where they couldn’t sack me
If a nigga ain’t shootin’ a jump shot, runnin’ a track meet
But this pimp is, at the top of Mount Olympus
Ready for the World’s Game, this is my Olympics
We make ’em say hoe ’cause the game is so pimpish
Choke a South Park writer with a fishstick
I insisted to get up off this dick
And these drugs, niggas can’t resist it
Remind me of when they tried to have Ali enlisted
If I ever wasn’t the greatest nigga, I must have missed it
Ain’t no question, if I want it, I need it
I can feel it slowly driftin’ away from me
I’m on the edge, so why you playin’? I’m sayin’
I will never ever let you live this down, down, down
I need more drinks and less lights
And that American Apparel girl in just tights
She told the director she tryna get in a school
He said, “Take them glasses off and get in the pool”
It’s been a while since I watched the tube
‘Cause like a Crip set, I got way too many blues for any more bad news
I was lookin’ at my resume, feelin’ real fresh today
They rewrite history, I don’t believe in yesterday
And what’s a black Beatle anyway, a fuckin’ roach?
I guess that’s why they got me sittin’ in fuckin’ coach
My guy said I need a different approach
‘Cause people is lookin’ at me like I’m sniffin’ coke
It’s not funny anymore, try different jokes
Tell ’em hug and kiss my ass, x and o
And kiss the ring while they at it, do my thing while I got it
Play strings for the dramatic endin’ of that wack shit
Act like I ain’t had a belt in two classes
I ain’t got it I’m comin’ after whoever who has it
I’m comin’ after whoever, who has it?
You blowin’ up, that’s good, fantastic
That y’all, it’s like that y’all
I don’t really give a fuck about it at all
‘Cause the same people that tried to black ball me
Forgot about two things, my black balls
Ain’t no question, if I want it, I need it
I can feel it slowly driftin’ away from me
I’m on the edge, so why you playin’? I’m sayin’
I will never ever let you live this down, down, down